June 8, 2021 – Chicago-based Hanold Associates HR & Diversity Executive Search has launched a new retail and luxury goods practice and named Lisa Butkus as the practice leader. Hanold Associates has led numerous high-profile searches for members of this industry, including finding HR, diversity and other leaders for brands like Abercrombie & Fitch, Beautycounter, Dick’s Sporting Goods, JC Penney, Patagonia, Tailored Brands and more.
Ms. Butkus specializes in recruiting executive-level HR leaders across industries, with a core focus on fashion, luxury brands, retail merchandise and the broader consumer industry. She has a background and perspective on the retail and luxury goods, having spent six years in luxury retail. After graduating with a degree in apparel merchandising, she spent several years as a buyer before transitioning into recruiting and eventually executive search. Ms. Butkus sits on the advisory committee for Indiana University’s retail merchandising program and has also led discussions on DE&I for the program and industry.
“Starting out on the sales floor and learning the flow of a stock room has been critical to building on my career in retail,” said Ms. Butkus. “My understanding of what’s going on in the industry has allowed me to better work with industry executives to identify strategic leadership needs and work closer with people vs. product.”
Ms. Butkus, alongside Hanold Associates’ diversity, equity and inclusion practice leader Keri Gavin, recently weighed in on trends in the industry related to diversity, equity and inclusion for an article published on the Business of Fashion website. With equity and inclusion at the forefront of national conversation and public policy, the fashion industry is scrambling to hire diversity leaders. But in their haste to address years of falling short, companies must be careful not to do more harm than good.
“It’s important that you’re not tacking it on to someone in HR because you think you need to just ‘have DEI,’ but you’re investing in the work and that person is going to have the resources and horsepower to take on that work.” Ms. Butkus said.
“Are you ready for the diversity that you seek? If you are, what happens after you hire this diverse leader; what happens after you continue to build your diverse talent pool?” Ms. Gavin asked.
Hanold Associates is a boutique executive search firm focused on HR and diversity and inclusion officers. Its client list is diverse across industries, geographies and business scenarios, and culture is at the core of everything the firm does. Its clients include the National Football League, Zoom, Domino’s Pizza, Under Armour, Patagonia, Gucci, Tom Brady’s TB12, Kohler, REI, Live Nation Entertainment, Dick’s Sporting Goods, McDonald’s, Major League Baseball, Kellogg, Apollo, Big Ten Conference, Blackstone, TPG, L Catterton, Northwestern University, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Electronic Arts, Fiat-Chrysler, SC Johnson, eBay, Moderna, Hillrom, Great Place To Work, Fossil, Vail Resorts, AbbVie, Carnival Corp., Biogen, Allstate, Bridgestone, Wikimedia, ClubCorp, Nike, Abercrombie & Fitch, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and Ford Motor Co., among others.
New HR Advisory Practice
Hanold Associates also recently launched a new HR advisory practice. Neela Seenandan, co-CEO and managing partner, is leading the practice. “The past year has many organizations experiencing the challenges of not having the right level of HR leadership. Whilst transforming or pivoting their organizations or HR functions they need strong HR leaders to bridge the gap from current to aspirational state,” she said. “Being a part of the executive team, subsumed within the company, we are well positioned to provide deep expertise and immediately leverageable counsel. We are experiencing increased demand for this executive and HR advisory partnership.”
Hanold Associates’ HR advisory practice is a formal articulation of the growing body of work in the consulting, advisory and interim HR officer services that the firm has provided for many clients, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the New York Times Co., Madison Dearborn-owned InMoment and Ferrara Candy (now part of Ferrero International), among others. In addition to leading the HR advisory practice, Ms. Seenandan will continue to lead executive HR and diversity, equity, and inclusion searches at the search firm. She joined Hanold Associates from Nielsen eight and a half years ago, where she served as senior vice president of human resources for North America consumer. Ms. Seenandan was responsible for driving the strategic talent agenda, including recruiting, compensation, talent management and diversity and inclusion. She has also served in progressive HR leadership positions for Aon Corp. and McKinsey & Company, working closely with senior executive teams to drive results in areas such as M&A, talent management, organizational effectiveness, DE&I, talent acquisition and leadership development.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media